Author Topic: Update on my trials with preferment.  (Read 1609 times)

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Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Update on my trials with preferment.
« on: June 11, 2006, 11:57:36 AM »
As some of you may have read from a previous post, I have gone full circle on the subject of adding commercial yeast to my preferment as it is used in a dough batch. I have recently started gradually reducing the amount of preferment (Ischia) and using no commercial yeast whatsoever and am finding surprisingly pleasing results. My latest effort was a batch of dough to be used for a deep dish pie. Wednesday night I began the process of getting a fresh batch of starter active. In a glass mixing bowl I added approximately 1/5 cup of sponge culture (cold from the fridge) then added to it approximately 1/2 C. warm water and enough flour to give a pancake batter consistency. This is generic AP unbleached flour for this dough. Hand mixed together and allowed this mix to sit on the counter overnight covered tightly with plastic wrap. Next morning it was very active with air bubbles covering the surface and a very pleasant sour smell. Into the mixer bowl (standard KA with dough hook) I added 1 cup of warm water, 1 1/2 t. of both fine sea salt and sugar. Mixed with a spoon until dissolved, then added the preferment. Mixed to incorporate well then added 3 cups of a/p flour. This is a scoop and dump measurement and I scoop on the light side. Begin mixing until the dough comes together then added approx. 1 T. light OO. Then mixed for about 5 minutes, adding a bit more flour as needed until I had the right visual consistency. Which for me seems to be when I achieve the 1/2 dollar size patch of sticky dough at the base of the mixer. I then remove to the counter and continue to hand knead and add the last bit of flour until I achieve the right "feel" for the dough. Balled up and lightly oiled and into a oil sprayed zip lock bag and into the cold box it went.

That night (Thursday) when I checked in on it it had shown only marginal increase in volume (which I expected) but the following morning there was a marked increase in volume, it was rising like a pure commercial yeast doughball. By Friday night it had literally doubled in size which amazed me because previously I had not seen any marked increase in size when using KASL and virtually the same technique. Saturday morning I decided it was time to use it or possibly lose it. So yesterday morning I fired up the oven, got out the 13" deep dish pan and formed up a very thick (okay it was actually a bit too thick) pie dough. Fried up 1 1/2 pounds of Italian Sausage with Garlic. Sauteed up a box of frozen spinach and then assembled the pie.

7-8 slices of provolone on the bottom, followed by the spinach then the crumbled sausage then simply opened up a can of 6-in-1's, ladled and lightly spread over the top then finished with a bit of seasoning mix. Into a 375* oven for about 20 minutes, removed from oven and topped with about 1/4 cup grated Romano/parmigiano regianno blend and back to the oven (this time on the stone) for another 20 minutes. Finally another ten minutes on the upper rack and then it rested for about an hour. I was the very best deep dish I have done to date and my family was immensely impressed.

What I was most impressed with of course was the characteristics of the dough. I am looking forward to repeating this recipe and hopefully duplicating the results. I will cut back slightly on the final dough amount for the pie however. Or find a 15" deep dish pan. That actually would be a better alternative, resulting in more leftovers ;D ;D ;D

Any comments appreciated.
Dan
« Last Edit: June 11, 2006, 10:59:21 PM by PizzaDanPizzaMan »


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Update on my trials with preferment.
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2006, 01:38:45 PM »
Dan,

Damn, you've gotten good :chef:.

Your pie reminded me of one of my early Lehmann NY style experiments in which I used a "preferment dough" very much like yours (cold preferment, water and flour, held overnight), and also my initial effort to make a Caputo-based deep-dish pie using a natural preferment. Both of those efforts proved to me that a natural preferment can be used effectively for both styles of pizzas.

Out of curiosity, I ran your numbers through my deep-dish spreadsheet. You didn't give all the quantities, and you were also using volume measurement, so I had to use my best estimates based on past experience in converting volume measurements to weights. You also didn't indicate the depth of your pan, so I just assumed 2", of which you may have used 1.75" to accommodate the volume of fillings you used. Based on all the assumptions I used, I estimate that your dough ball weighed around 28 ounces. That would be equivalent to a thickness factor of 0.143 (corresponding to the 13" pan). That would be a bit on the high side, with 0.11-0.13 being more typical for deep-dish doughs based on my past calculations. I think you could knock off about 4 ounces of the dough to fit more closely with your 13" pan. The numbers I came up with also suggest that you could use your present dough weight with a 15" pan (with the dough using up 1.75" of the depth of the pan).

If my assumptions on pan/dough depth were wrong, I'd be happy to re-run the numbers if you provide me with the actual numbers.

Out of curiosity, was the dough on the high side from a hydration standpoint? From what I can see, the dough resembles more a fairly standard pie dough used for a pan pizza rather than a deep-dish dough. For example, I estimate around 63% hydration and about 3.5% oil. If my numbers are anywhere close to being correct, 63% hydration would be high and 3.5% oil would be low for a deep-dish dough (Chicago style). In fact, taking the amount of salt and sugar into account also seems to suggest a Lehmann-type dough but with more oil and using sugar (which is optional for the Lehmann dough). Finally, did you oil or grease the sides or bottom of the pan before inserting the dough?

Peter

Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: Update on my trials with preferment.
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2006, 11:53:15 PM »
Pete, I'll do my best to answer your questions as accurately as I can.

First, I would estimate the dough ball weight at around 33 oz. I typically use the same recipe for my regular style pies (substituting the AP with KASL) and even though I have quit using a scale to weigh my ingredients, I still do use the scale to split my doughballs into equal weights and I almost always end up with three balls at 11 ounces each.

Second, my deep dish pan is in fact 1.75" deep and I used about 1.5" of that. So just with that bit of information you will likely deduce that my crust was extremely thick, in fact way too much so for my taste (but nobody complained). It was between 3/8 and 1/2" thick throughout the bottom and close to 1" thick at the rim and 1.5" tall. Obviously way too much bread and so much so at the rim that you couldn't eat it. I did say earlier that it was the best dd pie I have done yet and I meant it. Although I agree a 15" pan would be more appropriate for this amount of dough and maybe even then still a little too much.

With regards to hydration I can only say that it was fairly close to the hydration levels I have used on the regular dough but since I don't accurately weigh the ingredients I can't give you specific percentages. When I started using the Ischia several months ago I kept my mixer in the cabinet and for a long time was mixing by hand. I just recently went back to the mixer when I started to experiment with IDY incorporated into the starter. But in the process of hand mixing/kneading I developed a good sense of feel for the dough. Now I am using the mixer for the grunt work but still like to finish it on the counter with bench flour as needed for the right feel.

Lastly, I did coat the pan all over with a rub of Smart Balance.

Peter, you made a comment differentiating between deep dish and pan style pizza and I have come to believe they are one and the same, but I think now not so. I will research that distinction. My first thought would be that one difference might be the amount of oil used in the pan before placing the dough in it. I imagine that an abundance of oil would give the fried effect on the crust and maybe thus making a deep dish into a pan style?

Thanks Pete, your comments are always welcome and most certainly appreciated.
Dan

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Re: Update on my trials with preferment.
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2006, 01:16:35 PM »
Dan,

Thanks for the additional information.

When I convert volume measurements to weights, I usually use 8.1 ounces for a cup of water and about 4.5 ounces for a cup of all-purpose flour. The water measurement tends to be less subject to error so long as one looks at the markings on the measuring cup (at eye level, to avoid distortions). Flour tends to be all over the place, and it is not uncommon to see a 5.5 ounce "cup" (and on rare occasion, even more) from a volume measurement. Also, some folks neglect to mention whether any bench flour was used and, if so, how much. This will throw off my numbers all the time. Also, my deep-dish spreadsheet assumes a dough thickness of 1/4", which appears to be typical for a deep-dish dough.

When I spoke of the distinction between a deep-dish and pan style, I was speaking in terms of the dough formulation. There are similarities between the two styles (e.g., pan type, dough thickness, proofing, etc.), but the doughs themselves tend to be different. I couldn't work out all of the baker's percentages for your dough for the reasons mentioned above, but it clearly seemed to me to be more like a standard dough than a classical Chicago-style deep-dish dough. This is just a technical point since it doesn't mean much if you liked the final product.

Peter


 

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